Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Spell checker is an awesome tool and I can't imagine my life without it.  However, there is a different kind of typo that really gets me annoyed.  I often spell "you" as "your" and spell checker can never identify this.  There are other similar instances but I can't think of any right now.  I should be able input "you" and "your" into the word processor application and have it highlight those words every time I use them.  This way I could quickly make fixes when proof reading.

Another word I often misspell is "our" as "out".

nomadic_wonderer, Mar 03 2010

The Jabberwocky with spelling "corrected" http://dynamics.org.../PCJabberwocky.html
A classic reminder of how spell checking can mangle surreal beauty ... [Aristotle, Mar 03 2010]

Alright. http://dictionary.c...?key=2143&dict=CALD
Alright's alright. [DrBob, Mar 05 2010]

"All Right" vs. "alright" http://grammar.quic...versus-alright.aspx
The British are always mucking up the language. [jurist, Mar 05 2010]


       This and a couple of other recent spell checking variants are asking for something (almost) new.   

       A traditional spell checker checks each word entered against a "white-list" of valid character combinations. You can swap different dictionaries in and out in order to cater for regional differences, even entire languages.   

       The general problem being that there are redundancies, non-puns (where a mispelling translates an equally "valid" word, except that now it has a different meaning), grammatical errors (there, their and they're - among others) and other typographical problems.   

       What's needed is a contextual semantic "proof-reader" - but that's tantamount AI and may be a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Microsoft had a grammar checking thing that was kind of going this way, but I've not seen it for a while (probably switched off as default now after annoying too many people - something I wish they'd do to this stupid multi-clipboard thing - I only want one copy/paste thanks!)
zen_tom, Mar 03 2010

       Some spell-checkers also look at grammar, with varying degrees of success. Such a programme should be able to have a reasonable stab at working out where you mistakes are ...
Aristotle, Mar 03 2010

       @ zen_tom @ Aristotle: I fully understand the complexity in building this kind of tool.  We are still a few years away from technology that will fully solve this problem.  For the time being, however, it would be nice to have a manual interface where I can say look out for "our", "out", "you" and "your".  Someone else might have a completely different list.
nomadic_wonderer, Mar 03 2010

       Ctl+F will allow you to do this search in most versions of MS Windows
Aristotle, Mar 03 2010

       //Spell checker is an awesome tool and I can't imagine my life without it//

Try harder. Spell checker is an awful tool that encourages lazy writing and poor grammar. It is no substitute for learning to write correctly.
DrBob, Mar 03 2010

       //Spell checker is an awful tool that encourages lazy writing and poor grammar//   

       Then so would be pedantry.   


       I disagree, however. There is no substitute for the smug feeling I get when I spell check an anno and find no misspelled words.   

       Usually only happens with the shorter ones, though.
MikeD, Mar 03 2010

       I've been writing some XSD schemas recently, as an alternative to writing a human language parser for transaction-based command statements - and have to say, being able to create my very own, rich yet non-ambiguous grammar, and then have programs pick that up and start doing effective autosuggestions as I write new documents has been really quite an enjoyable experience. Shame nobody has written a great big XSD allowing one to validate "form" for any written English language document.   

       But I go back to the point, you don't want a "spell checker", you want a "proof reader".   

       Or (sudden brainwave) say the "white-list" approach tells the spellchecker when to ignore a word (i.e. it passes the dictionary lookup), you could add a second list, the "black-list" containing common mistakes such as "teh", "poeple" - this already exists as "Autocorrect" - but what's new is you could add a third (Grey, Amber?) lookup list containing "watch-out!" words such as the ones you suggest and more of those grammatical ones. All the system has to do is highlight them and guide the user to proof read those sentences containing those suspect words.
zen_tom, Mar 03 2010

       [zen_tom] I've seen a system in the 90s with both a white list and a black list, admittedly an internal Xerox system, that was used to checked OCRed European patents. (OCR = Optical Character Recognition)   

       One of the problems with patents was that a lot of them featured CRTs but few featured cats. Early OCR would look at the text for tubes and find moggies instead. Hence the black list to catch these commonly misguessed words.
Aristotle, Mar 03 2010

       [zen_tom]'s suggestion is exactly what I need. Alright, since the rest of the community has thrashed this idea I'll delete it 3 days from now.
nomadic_wonderer, Mar 03 2010

       There's spellcheck, and then there's autocorrect. The latter, I agree, is the Devil's work, but the former, done right, is a supplement to, not a substitute for human intelligence. Recall that human proofreaders' trick of reading backwards, in order to be as context-blind as spellcheck naturally is.   

       (Spell check just caught a double "the" for me, there.)
mouseposture, Mar 04 2010

       //since... community... thrashed... delete... // I don't see any reason to delete anything based on the comments here - your idea is fine, and where there is negativity, it's directed at the "spellcheck" concept in general (as well as existing implementations of it) and not necessarily your idea. Sometimes people seem to confuse negativity linked to an idea's topic with negativity directed at the idea itself. I got roundly put in my place the other day when I expressed an opinion on an idea's topic (rather than specifically on the idea itself) which the author took as a personal attack against them and their idea. I suppose it can just be tricky to separate the two sometimes.
zen_tom, Mar 04 2010

       No need to duck, MikeD. Excessive pedantry, whilst being a fun stick to beat people with, isn't really helpful to anyone.

I feel the urge to expand on my original point though. Even though nearly everyone knows that spellcheckers are rubbish, they have become a substitute for re-reading and reviewing your work.

Actually, no that's not quite right. They have become an excuse for not re-reading and reviewing your work. This is a bad thing. Hence my fishbone for the idea as it is seeking to remove a minor annoyance of spellcheckers, and thus give the illusion that they are alright to use, whilst failing to address the main problem. The main problem being that spellcheckers suck!
DrBob, Mar 04 2010

       //Excessive pedantry, whilst being a fun stick to beat people with//   

       I believe the cause to be genetic, as opposed to social, as my grandmother was of English descent ... and pedantic.   

       //They have become an excuse for not re-reading and reviewing your work//   

       Agreed ...
MikeD, Mar 04 2010

       //...spellcheckers... give the illusion that they are alright to use...//   

       [DrBob], would use of a BetterSpellCheck on your last annotation have exposed that the common one-word informal spelling and usage of the word "alright" is generally considered incorrect? The phrase "all right" is properly used in more formal, edited writing.
jurist, Mar 04 2010

       the best part of spell check is to type in someone's name and see the funny returns it gives!
xandram, Mar 04 2010

       //"alright" is generally considered incorrect//

Not in my neighbourhood it ain't!
DrBob, Mar 05 2010

       //"alright" is generally considered incorrect// This is the sort of thing that gives prescriptivism a bad name.   

       [DrBob] //excuse for not re-reading and reviewing your work// I don't think spellcheck deserves the whole, or even the major part of the blame, here. Much of what I read has clearly not been proofread for *content.* There's a network effect: when I put effort into writing something carefully, I'm frequently disappointed in how carelessly it's read. So why bother writing carefully?
mouseposture, Mar 05 2010

       //This is the sort of thing that gives prescriptivism a bad name.// Then let me put this another way: The use of "alright" is not all right. "Alright" is not a word.
jurist, Mar 05 2010

       Ooh, well know you've gone just a step too far, jurist! I call on the unholy might of the dictionary to smight you! (linky) ;o)

//So why bother writing carefully?//

Because a craftsman should take pride in their work, mouseposture. Even though it's unappreciated by the unwashed heathens that surround them.

Which reminds me. Have you checked that link yet jurist?
DrBob, Mar 05 2010


       "smight"! (Just caught that one, Doc! Ha!;-)
jurist, Mar 05 2010

       Erm, you do realize that this is mostly in jest, [21], don't you? [DrBob] has always been one of the best communicators around the œbakery (at least for the 9 years I've had the pleasure of his acquaintance), and so I was merely having some fun in pulling his unholy trident tail.
jurist, Mar 06 2010

       [DrBob] Unfortunately, when your time's valuable, you can get fired for wasting it on craftsmanship. My personal Damocletian sword.
mouseposture, Mar 06 2010

       //"smight"! (Just caught that one, Doc! Ha!;-)//

Alright then. We'll call it a draw!
DrBob, Mar 07 2010

       TechCrunch posted this email snippet from Steve Jobs- "Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone."  link: http://tcrn.ch/aK3GHt   

       I bet Steve hates typos and would have gladly paid $50 for a spell checker that let him know he often misspells "an" as "and".  I do too.
nomadic_wonderer, Apr 20 2010


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